From the Vault: British Report on Panzer II

We recently received images of a document by the British Department of Tank Design from early 1943 showing the results of tests they performed on a captured German Panzer II.  The goal of the tests were to obtain information on the reliability and performance of the German tank, which was captured in Libya.  The report notes that the tank had been put through a good bit of use before being captured, with the odometer showing over 7000 miles.  Despite the condition of the vehicle, the report notes that “the machine behaved extremely well and little serious mechanical trouble was experienced.”  This is an eleven page document, the individual pages can be viewed in the image gallery below.

 

Book Alert: German Heavy Fighting Vehicles of the Second World War: From Tiger to E-100

Fonthill Media has released a new title by author Ken Estes titled German Heavy Fighting Vehicles of the Second World War: From Tiger to E-100.  This is a 180 page softcover book.

Publisher’s Description:

The German army faced tanks of superior size, armor and firepower from the outset of World War II. Although their Panzerwaffen handled the Polish campaign, war with France meant confronting superior heavy and medium tanks like the Char B and Somua, with 47 mm high velocity cannon that penetrated German tank armor with ease. French infantry disposed of effective antitank weapons and a portion of their 75 mm field guns were detailed as antitank guns. Even greater challenges emerged with the Russo-German War, for the Germans had no initial answer to the KV-1 heavy tank and T-34 medium.

The successive technical shocks of superior tanks introduced by each side produced a gun-armor race that continued in some manner even after the war’s end. The Germans placed a premium on technological quality and superiority over mass production, for which their industry (and, arguably, their regime) remained rather unsuited. Not satisfied with the advantage they obtained with the Tiger and Panther series tanks, the army leadership and Adolf Hitler himself pushed for larger and more powerful tanks than had ever been built.

Available from Amazon here.

Tank design: two overlooked aspects

The youtube channel Lindybeige has posted a video of its host discussing tank design with Nicholas “The Chieftain” Moran.

Video: NMAW Open House

Last September we went to the open house event for the NMAW at the Tank Farm in Nokesville Virginia.  We shot some video at the event and have edited it into something that we hope is relatively watchable.  This video will give people an idea of what to expect if they decide to attend this event the next time it happens.

AFV News from Around the Web

Here is an assortment of recent news articles on armored vehices. Click on the headline to go to the complete piece.

 

BBC – The Salvagers who raise World War Two tanks from the dead

p060mznwWhen the German army attacked the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941, tanks were a crucial factor in their initial success. German tanks roared across the Soviet border giving the enemy no time to recover.  As the Soviets reeled under the surprise attack, the most powerful German formations swept through what is now Belarus. Huge battles were fought, leaving the land strewn with dead bodies and ruined machines.

 

Task & Purpose – Why Tanks Need 4 Crew Members, Not 3

86167374Having spent a lot of time on tanks, I would argue that pursuing technical solutions that don’t account for the human dimension of sustained ground combat is a mistake. The four-soldier crew gives flexibility that three cannot.  Pulling local security is a real requirement inside a tactical assembly area. Doing so while maintaining weapons, conducting maintenance, eating, and getting some sleep is already tough. When in radio listening silence you need a runner, and during tactical road marches you need an air guard.

 

Defense News – Singapore denies acquisition of new Leopard tank variant

AR3Q7KAIQBC75EY2VJEKXT6KCAMELBOURNE, Australia ― Singapore is denying it took delivery of Leopard 2A7 main battle tanks from Germany, contradicting a report by a Swedish nongovernmental organization.  A spokesperson from Singapore’s Ministry of Defence told Defense News that “no other variants of the Leopard has been acquired” since the country ordered Leopard 2A4 tanks from Germany in 2006.

 

KyivPost – UkrOboronProm finishes producing Oplot tanks for Thailand

DSC8767-800x520After missing several deadlines over the past few years, Ukraine’s state-run defense production concern UkrOboronProm will now finally complete its long-standing contract to supply its advanced Oplot-T battle tanks to Thailand.  In a March 26 press statement, the concern’s director general, Pavlo Bukin, asserted that a final batch of six modern Ukrainian-made armored vehicles had already been produced and successfully tested in the presence of the ordering party.

 

Sofrep News – China testing plan to turn thousands of outdated tanks into drone warfighters

rotype59-1521654192-905x483As a part of China’s People’s Liberation Army’s continued modernization efforts, China is now experimenting with converting outdated tank platforms into unmanned combat drones.  Footage released to the public last Wednesday on state-owned television shows a Type 59 Chinese tank being maneuvered via remote control, using a steering wheel and dual screened console to manage the tasks of tank operation. Although the video does not say, it seems likely that the two screens represent a navigational view of the front of the tank and a bore-sight view for targeting the tanks main weapons system, a 100mm gun.

 

War is Boring – Imagine 1940s French Tanks With Soviet-era Howitzers

AMX-13_with_D30-970x350France built the 14.5-ton AMX-13 tank in the 1940s as a combat vehicle light enough to be air-transportable to support paratroopers. France produced and exported thousands of them, which saw action in several Cold War conflicts. They’re still in service in a handful of countries, mostly in South America.  The antiquated tanks could still see service for awhile longer. Reports suggest Peru is looking at converting 30 to 40 of its AMX-13s into self-propelled howitzers by swapping out their turrets for Soviet-era 122-millimeter D-30 howitzers.

 

Egypt Independent – Russian T-90S/SK tanks to be assembled in Egypt soon: Russia Today

1200px-2013_Moscow_Victory_Day_Parade_28Russian heavy off-road truck manufacturer Ural Automotive Plan has announced plans to establish a local company in Egypt to assemble 400 Russian battle tanks of the T-90S/SK model, according to state-funded Russian news outlet Russia Today.  The project depends on whether the mother company in Russia will issue an official authorization for the assemblage in Egypt.

 

IHS Jane’s – Netherlands transfers last Leopard 2s to Finland

The Netherlands will transfer the last of 100 Leopard 2A6 tanks to Finland in 2019, the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said on its website.  The ministry reported that it began transferring 20 Leopard 2A6s to Finland on 21 March.  The Netherlands decided in 2011 to phase out main battle tanks, and Finland bought its 100 Leopards 2A6s in 2014.

 

 

 

 

Jordan opens Royal Tank Museum

The AP18035448649196-640x400Kingdom of Jordan has opened up a new museum dedicated to tanks and military history and showcasing over 100 armored vehicles.  According to news articles, the museum collection has been assembled over the last ten years and contains vehicles from the Jordanian Armed Forces as well as machines from other countries given as gifts or through military exchange programs.  While we have not seen a complete list of all the vehicle types on display, based on the photos and videos made available so far, this is a very impressive collection of vehicles, including some relatively rare WWII era vehicles.

For more, check out these links to various news articles and the video below.

The Jordan Times – King Opens Royal Tank Museum

Al-Monitor – Jordan shows off its arsenal in new tank museum

The Jerusalem Post – Jordan Displays Military Tech Israel Faced in Early Wars

AFV News from Around the Web

Here is another assortment of recent news articles on armored vehices. Click on the headline to go to the complete piece.

FP – Made in America, But Lost in Iraq

gettyimages-621063070.jpgThe U.S. company that repairs Iraq’s American-made M1A1 Abrams tanks has pulled many of its people from Iraq after at least nine of the armored vehicles ended up in the hands of pro-Iran militias. Now, many of Iraq’s tanks are immobilized for want of maintenance, potentially jeopardizing the country’s ongoing campaign against Islamic State militants.  While the Islamic State has retreated from large swaths of Iraq it once controlled, mobile groups of militants continue to stage attacks on Iraqi troops and their allies. An Islamic State attack near the city of Hawija in mid-February reportedly killed 27 militiamen fighting for Baghdad.

 

The Diplomat – India’s New Anti-Tank Guided Missile Destroys 2 Tanks in Test

thediplomat-nag_with_namica_defexpo-2008-386x290India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) successfully tested its indigenously designed and developed third-generation anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) Nag in desert conditions against two tank targets on February 28, according to an Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) press release.  The tests “have once again proved its capability,” the statement reads. “With this, the developmental trials of the missile have been completed and it is now ready for induction.” The Indian Army has so far not publicly commented on the successful Nag ATGM test. Notably, DRDO had announced the completion of development trials already in September 2017.

 

The National Interest – Turkey May Try to Build an Unmanned Tank

Turkey may try to build an unmanned tank.  That’s according to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Speaking at a meeting at the presidential palace on February 21, Erdoğan declared: “We will carry it a step further [after domestically produced unmanned aerial vehicles] . . . We should reach the ability to produce unmanned tanks as well. We will do it.” Erdoğan’s comments came weeks after five Turkish soldiers were killed in a tank while fighting in Syria’s Afrin district. Ankara has deployed military forces in Syria to battle Kurds in the neighboring country.

 

Jane’s 360 – Order for T-14 MBTs, T-15 heavy IFVs for extended trials confirmed by Russian MoD

1718298_main.jpgAn order placed by the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) for two battalions of T-14 main battle tanks (MBTs) and a battalion of T-15 heavy infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) has been confirmed by the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD).  “It’s no secret that we already have a contract for trials and combat operations: two battalions of Armata tanks and one battalion of heavy infantry fighting vehicles,” Deputy Defence Minister Yuri Borisov was quoted as saying by the MoD during a tour of the Uralvagonzavod factory in Nizhny Tagil on 9 February.

 

The Diplomat – China Now Has the World’s Largest Active Service Tank Force

thediplomat_2016-08-11_09-05-58-386x257The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) currently fields the world’s largest active service main battle tank (MBT) force, according to an analysis published in the newly released Military Balance 2018 report, produced by the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS).  As of 2017, the PLA’s operational tank fleet is composed of roughly 3,390 third-generation, 400 second-generation, and 2,850 first-generation MBTs. In comparison, in 1997 the force consisted of 6,200 first-generation and 1,600 second-generation MBTs.

 

Defense News – South Korea’s K2 tank to run on German transmission

QAJSGBGNWZHFHAVNR4UMLCMPUYSEOUL — South Korea’s K2 main battle tank is to be equipped with a German transmission system, a part of the tank’s powerpack that includes a locally-developed engine.  The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced Feb. 7 that its top decision-making body, presided over by Defense Minister Song Young-moo, made a decision to adopt the German RENK transmission system for the production of a second batch of 106 K2 tanks.